Page:Our New Zealand Cousins.djvu/250

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Our New Zealand Cousins.

from evil." But it is the fashion nowadays to put all the blame on God. Our doubter quarrels with Omnipotence, and the All Wise, "whose ways are not as our ways," because the mysteries of being, the operations of spirit, the deep problems of man's moral nature are not all brought into harmony with his own crude, imperfect ideas of what should be, at once, by a mere fiat, by a creative instantaneous act. "And lo, man being in honour, abideth not. He is like the beasts that perish." Take this matter of forest-felling, for instance, how short-sighted, how crass, how like "the beasts that perish." What amazing stupidity; what shameless greed; what want of foresight, or criminal indifference to results! Has not the lesson been proclaimed over and over again that wholesale denudation of the forests of a country will exact its retribution in widespread ruin and desolation? Forest management has attained the rank almost of an exact science now. It has its literature, its schools, its laws; but they do seem to be as a dead letter to New Zealanders, and not, alas! to them alone. Occasionally a warning voice is raised, a mild protest appears spasmodically at intervals in some country journal; but who can touch the callous heart of the lumberer and timber contractor? Who can prick his seared conscience? "Let it last my time" is all the aspiration of his creed. "Let those that come after me shift for themselves" is the selfish cry that echoes in the emptiness of his inmost soul, and finds expression in his conduct. The legislator who would attempt a remedy; the